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SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 08: Evan Longoria #10, Mike Yastrzemski #5, Donovan Solano #7 and Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants celebrate after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers 4-0 in Game 1 of the National League Division Series at Oracle Park on October 08, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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This Series Was Meant To Go The Distance

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

A winner-take-all Game 5 is the Giants vs Dodgers finale that we all deserve

If you were to go back in time to Opening Day 2021 and tell San Francisco Giants fans that the team would…

  1. Finish with the best record in baseball
  2. Set a franchise record for wins in a single season
  3. Clinch the National League West division for the first time since 2012
  4. Play a winner-take-all Game 5 in the NLDS at home against the rivaled Los Angeles Dodgers

…I would imagine that they would flag down a member of Oracle Park’s medical staff and have you assessed for a head injury.

The 2021 San Francisco Giants were not supposed to be good. Not even remotely good, according to most preseason predictions from around the league–our staff at Sports 1140 KHTK included.

Hello, Freezing Cold Takes.

Since 2010, the Giants are no stranger to baseball magic. It’s practically in the team’s DNA, especially with players like Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt still on the roster from the team’s championship run from the previous decade.

So many things needed to go right for the Giants to be competitive in 2021. Not only did all of those things go right, they went above and beyond the highest expectations that any Giants fan could have hoped for.

After sitting out in 2020, Buster Posey returned to All-Star form, batting .304 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI in his age-34 season. Brandon Crawford put on a display in the final year of his contract, posting MVP-caliber numbers and securing a multi-year extension at the end of the season.

San Francisco finished the season with the most home runs (241) in the National League and the second-most in all of baseball, with only Toronto mashing more long-balls in 2021.

Brandon Belt hit a career-high 29 home runs. Crawford posted a career-high of 24 homers as well. Role players like Mike Yastrzemski, Darin Ruf, LaMonte Wade Jr. and Wilmer Flores all finished with 16 home runs or more.

The team acquired former NL MVP Kris Bryant in the closing moments of the Trade Deadline–a trade that very well could end up being the most important deal made in all of baseball this season.

Everything that needed to go right for the offense–all players exceeding expectations, setting career-highs, staying consistent–went right.

With Kevin Gausman, Logan Webb, Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani heading a strong rotation, the Giants had all of the firepower they needed to combat the 2020 World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. For the first time since 2012, the Giants are back on top in the NL West.

After holding off the surging Dodgers to end the season, the 107-win Giants were gifted a matchup in the National League Division Series against….the 106-win Dodgers.

It had to happen this way. The baseball gods demanded it.

During the final weeks of the regular season when the Giants and Dodgers were separated by a mere two-to-three games in the standings and at least a Wild Card berth in the bag for both teams, it became pretty clear that the latest chapter in the storied rivalry would be a legendary matchup in the NLDS.

With four games in the books and a winner-take-all Game 5 set for Thursday night at Oracle Park, the stage has been set for a postseason baseball classic between these two storied franchises.

The 2021 San Francisco Giants and 2021 Los Angeles Dodgers put on a display that had not been seen before—two inner division rivals going shot-for-shot all season long and winning at an eye-popping rate—not until this season.

Both teams played absolutely dominant baseball for 162 games. Both teams won at least 106 games. Both teams are one win away from moving on to the National League Championship series to face the Atlanta Braves.

But most importantly–one of these teams will see its season end on Thursday night.

This is postseason baseball. This is what Giants fans are accustomed to after all of those stressful nights in 2010, 2012, 2014 and even 2016.

The torture has returned.

The biggest matchup in the history of Giants vs Dodgers will take place on Thursday in front of a sold-out Oracle Park. Rocklin native Logan Webb will take the mound against the 20-game winner Julio Urías in a matchup between two pitchers that have shutdown the opposing offense.

The Giants are 5-0 in winner-take-all games dating back to the 2010 season. Can they keep the magic going on Thursday in the most exhilarating fashion possible?

It’s time for the grand finale of this season’s most captivating story, and it’s only fitting that is ends this way:

At Oracle Park in front of an orange sea of 42,000 people.